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National Retail Sales Dip 3% in November

According to newly released data from Statistics Canada, country-wide sales of cannabis dropped 3.17% in November 2020 to $261 million, down from $270 million the month before. Looking at decreasing numbers across the board may seem like a cause for concern, however, average daily sales actually increased slightly. Similar trends were observed in November 2019.

Most Provinces See Decline

All of Canada’s provinces and territories saw at least some decline in sales, except for Saskatchewan, which reported an increase of 1.02%, going from $13.7 million to $13.89 million, and Northwest Territories, which reported increases of nearly 10%, with sales increasing from $383,000 to $421,000.

Most provinces’ sales slowed by only a few percentage points, however, some lost more than others. The Maritime provinces seemed hit hardest by November’s downturn, with PEI reporting 9.47% fewer sales than the month before, and Nova Scotia’s sales down 5.78% as well.

The large provinces were not immune, either. Ontario and BC saw minor dips, but Quebec’s sales dropped 6.48% from $48 million to $44.9 million in November 2020. Alberta, too, dropped nearly 5%, going from $56.6 million to $53.9 million.

Cause for Concern?

As the remaining reports filter into Statistics Canada, we may see these numbers change next month, but for now, retailers shouldn’t be too concerned—a similar drop happened at the same time in 2019.

Total sales may have increased 5% between October and November 2019, but most provinces were seeing small dips in their sales. While it’s likely too soon to tell, it may be that October and November are a natural lull in cannabis sales, only to pick back up in December. On top of that, COVID-19 cases surged all across the country post-Thanksgiving, which may have prompted Canadians to stay in and buy less.

The 2020 holiday season may not have felt like the holidays, but many industries are reporting higher shopping volumes than ever before. Judging by that, as well as 2019 trends, sales should be back to normal by December.

November 2020 Retail Cannabis Sales (x 1000)

Total – $261,437
Newfoundland – $3,839
PEI – $1,510
Nova Scotia – $6,887
New Brunswick – $6,124
Quebec – $44,902
Ontario – $82,877
Manitoba – $9,610
Saskatchewan – $13,892
Alberta – $53,984
British Columbia – $36,739
Yukon – $652
NWT – $421